PDA

View Full Version : Three questions to get started.



matthewhooper
06-01-2009, 12:41 AM
I am planning on making my first batch of mead as soon as my yeast gets here. Since this is my first batch I wanted to try something simple but I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find definitive answers for. I have scoured through the forums but if I have missed the answers just point me in the right direction.

I plan on making a simple honey/water/yeast mead in a primary of about 20-25 liters. I will move it into 3 (probably) secondaries and add different kinds of fruits or flavorings at that time. Then, eventually bottling. This should give me 3 different kinds of mead at about 6-8 liters each.

1. My first question is about honey. I live in Taiwan and most of the honey here is from the dragon fruit (or pitaya) flower. I read somewhere that this is an over powering honey and it isn't recommended since it can mute the tastes of the fruits that have been added. Does anyone have any suggestions or experiences with this?

2. The next question is about yeast nutrients. My wife is allergic to something in commercial beers/wines/ alcohols but we aren't sure what. She breaks out in to big hives so she isn't really into experimenting to find out what specifically it is. She has tried a few sips (she doesn't like beer) of my home brew beer and she has been fine so I am guessing it is some of the chemicals used in commercial brews. I was going to skip this altogether as I thought the primary fermentation would just take longer, but I have read that honey doesn't give the yeast much to get going so the nutrients are highly recommended. I have read about dry malt extracts being used as an alternative, these are expensive for me since they have to be shipped. Are the risks of a dead batch really high or should I be ok without any nutrients. If I should use the nutrients does anyone have any specific recommendations or alternatives.

3. My last question is about temperature. Since I am in Taiwan the temperature is generally pretty high in the summer. The place where I keep my beer brew buckets is at about 25C, I know this is a bit high. For beer this has been ok, would this be ok for mead also?

I am currently living in Taipei, Taiwan where there is basically no home brewing shops so everything I buy has to be shipped, expensively. So where most people can run out to a shop to find supplies I have to "MacGyver" a solution, so please take that into consideration. Lighter (shipping weight) solutions are better. ;) Thanks in advance to anyone who wants to give advice. :D

Medsen Fey
06-01-2009, 09:34 AM
Welcome to GotMead? matthewhooper!!!

I have absolutely no idea how dragon fruit honey tastes, or how it works in a mead. I'll be really interested to hear your take on it, and if you make a large batch and split it into three, you might want to keep some as a traditional mead (without fruit additions) just to see what it produces. Please do post up your impressions of the dragon fruit honey.

The higher temperature fermentations may blow off some of the floral elements making the result less over-powering which may work in your favor if the honey is that strong. A lot of yeast don't do well at 25C and higher. Based on some testing done in the Patron's area (the HotMead Yeast Test (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12645&highlight=HotMead+Yeast+Test)) your best bets for yeast are probably K1V-1116, or D21 which are both Lallemand/Lalvin yeast. The K1V is commonly available in the U.S., but I don't know about Taiwan. Even using these yeast, your mead will likely go through a period of time where it smells like Band-Aids, or very medicinal, and it may take it a year or so to age out so don't be surprised.

For using other yeast, there are numerous ways to manage the temperature to keep it cooler.

I certainly don't know what may be causing your wife's symptoms, but that is clearly a concern. You can actually ferment a batch with no nutrients, and K1V may be a good yeast for that, but it can be slow and potentially prone to sticking. I have tested K1V with pitching a large biomass of yeast (also in the HotMead Yeast Test), which produced a quick clean fermentation (in my 1-batch sample size), but it starts to get a little expensive for the yeast.

There are a variety of nutrients and alternatives if you do a bit of searching and narrowing your topics down. Raisins, such as used in Joe's ancient orange recipe, can work. Bee Pollen can be used, but may add flavors (good or bad depending on your pollen and your sense of taste). Taking brewers yeast or bread yeast and boiling it may give you a non-chemical yeast nutrient that is "natural", but again, they may add yeasty flavors. Then there are the yeast nutrient and yeast energizer products. Since all of the things will essentially provide the same chemical compounds to yeast (amino acid nitrogen and ammonia nitrogen), if your wife happens to be sensitive to any of them, it may not matter which choice you add.

As allergies can be quite severe, caution is definitely warranted.

I hope that helps! Good luck with your batch

Medsen

Kee
06-01-2009, 05:20 PM
I live in Arizona and have similar issues with high temperatures.

Try putting the must into a water bath, a tub filled with water. You can also keep a damp t-shirt or towel over the outside of the carboy. It will help keep the fermentation temperatures down. We reacently picked up a refrigerator just so I could store my mead in.

matthewhooper
06-01-2009, 10:38 PM
I have absolutely no idea how dragon fruit honey tastes, or how it works in a mead. I'll be really interested to hear your take on it, and if you make a large batch and split it into three, you might want to keep some as a traditional mead (without fruit additions) just to see what it produces. Please do post up your impressions of the dragon fruit honey.

I was planning on keeping some out as a traditional just to see what it's like. I have never drunk mead before so this is all an experiment for me. I will be able to say if it tastes good or not but I have no reference to compare dragon fruit honey with others. I was also considering priming it before bottling to make a sparkling traditional mead. I think one of the batches I will try is going to be dragon fruit which I am hoping is really going to bring out the taste in the honey.



The higher temperature fermentations may blow off some of the floral elements making the result less over-powering which may work in your favor if the honey is that strong. A lot of yeast don't do well at 25C and higher. Based on some testing done in the Patron's area (the HotMead Yeast Test (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12645&highlight=HotMead+Yeast+Test)) your best bets for yeast are probably K1V-1116, or D21 which are both Lallemand/Lalvin yeast. The K1V is commonly available in the U.S., but I don't know about Taiwan. Even using these yeast, your mead will likely go through a period of time where it smells like Band-Aids, or very medicinal, and it may take it a year or so to age out so don't be surprised.

Only bread yeast is available here, but I already have some Lalvin D-47 (for mead) and Red Star - Wine Montrachet (for a wine experiment) in the mail. So I will probably stick with the D-47 for mead, for now.



For using other yeast, there are numerous ways to manage the temperature to keep it cooler.


Maybe I will just have to keep the A/C on. My electric company will love me! :eek:



There are a variety of nutrients and alternatives if you do a bit of searching and narrowing your topics down. Raisins, such as used in Joe's ancient orange recipe, can work.

I was going to give raisins a try as a nutrient. I am a bit worried that the raisins will change the flavor of the mead but maybe since the quantity is low the taste will not be very noticeable.



As allergies can be quite severe, caution is definitely warranted.

Agreed!


Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate it. ;D

matthewhooper
06-01-2009, 10:42 PM
I live in Arizona and have similar issues with high temperatures.

Try putting the must into a water bath, a tub filled with water. You can also keep a damp t-shirt or towel over the outside of the carboy. It will help keep the fermentation temperatures down. We recently picked up a refrigerator just so I could store my mead in.

I was thinking about trying something with ice packs and a blanket. My other options are to wait until October before I get started but that's just crazy talk. ;)

Maybe in the future I might actually build a fermentation chiller.

Noe Palacios
06-02-2009, 12:28 AM
My wife is allergic to something in commercial beers/wines/ alcohols but we aren't sure what.


About your wife's allergy, the only thing that comes to me is the sulfite allergy, it is very common. There are two ways that sulfite get into your mead: First, it is produced during fermentation, so you can't do nothin about it. Second: when you ad it to stabilize your mead, well you may choose not to ad.

Becuase of this problem in some countries there is a maximum aceptable sulfite concentration, if the sulfite concentration is higher the wineries have to write in their label about its presence. I donīt remember what this maximum concentretion is, but I think it wonīt be difficult for you to find it out in the net. Then you will need to buy Titrets to mesure the sulfite in your mead, after your run your Titretsī test you will know if your wife will have or not allergy because of your mead.



I live in Taiwan and most of the honey here is from the dragon fruit (or pitaya) flower. I read somewhere that this is an over powering honey and it isn't recommended since it can mute the tastes of the fruits that have been added. Does anyone have any suggestions or experiences with this?


We have a lot of dragon fruit here in Nicaragua too. Yours are white or red? Ours are red.

I donīt know about dragon fruit honey because our dragon fruit season is in the middle of our rainy season, so it is when the beekeepers do not harvest honey, so we don't have dragon fruit honey. You will be the first to make mead with that honey. I will madly wait for your results.

Last year I tried to make a dragon fruit melomel. Now I am sure that something went very wrong, the fermentation was so untypical and the mead that I got was so sour that I throwed it out to the toilet. But I think I know what was the cause of my problems and I will try again next september when our dragon fruit season starts.

Regards,

Noé

matthewhooper
06-02-2009, 01:38 AM
About your wife's allergy, the only thing that comes to me is the sulfite allergy, it is very common. There are two ways that sulfite get into your mead: First, it is produced during fermentation, so you can't do nothin about it. Second: when you ad it to stabilize your mead, well you may choose not to ad.


I am guessing this is what it is so I am trying to go as natural as possible to make sure. Aren't sulfites increased as a result of yeast nutrients? If I am wrong about this then I might as well get some yeast nutrients because my concerns about the yeast nutrients are moot. :confused:



We have a lot of dragon fruit here in Nicaragua too. Yours are white or red? Ours are red.

Both are available here but mostly they are white.



Last year I tried to make a dragon fruit melomel. Now I am sure that something went very wrong, the fermentation was so untypical and the mead that I got was so sour that I throwed it out to the toilet.
Now I am wondering if I should make a dragon fruit mead. I was wondering if the fruit was too acidic which would cause it to sour.


Thanks for you responses!
-Matt